Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 15 August, 2021

It has been a relatively quiet time, Covid-wise, since the last diary entry on Thursday.  So not a lot to share today.

And unusually, let’s start with some good news.  New research shows that one of the Tetanus type vaccines and the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine both have some beneficial effects with the Covid virus, too.

So if you’re possibly due for a Tetanus booster anyway, perhaps this is another reason to go and get one.

Not quote so good news – yet again, the EU’s attempts to keep its member nations all marching in lock-step with each other and official EU diktats has foundered on the rock of Covid concerns.

Last Monday, the EU as a whole decided to ignore the US being way over the trigger-point at which EU policy required it to be moved to the high-risk category with more restrictions on travel from the US to the EU.  But on Friday, Germany decided, perhaps after noting its own stubbornly growing case numbers, to unilaterally move the US to its own high-risk category.

The result is that is has become almost impossible for non-vaccinated people to travel from the US to Germany.  This took effect today – details here.

Current Numbers

The minor country list sees the Seychelles getting very close to toppling Andorra from lead position, and Gibraltar swapped places with Bahrain.  At the bottom of the list, Luxembourg has dropped off and been replaced by Aruba.

An unusually large number of changes in the major country list, with the most notable for most readers being the US rising now to second place.  The US seems likely to hold that position for at least the next short while.  France also rose two places.

There were no changes on the death rate list.

The list of countries with the most new Covid cases over the last week shows the usual large changes, with Malaysia appearing from nowhere and heading straight to fourth place, and the US now registering near the bottom of the list.

Although the numbers of cases seemed to be generally up in the list, the world as a whole reported a 2% drop.  Europe had a tiny increase of 0.2%, with the most affected countries being Switzerland with an 81% rise, Austria up 58%, Germany up 56% and Norway at 27%.  Spain had the largest drop – 39%, followed by Netherlands (11%) and Belgium (8%).

Canada had a 73% rise in cases, and Mexico a more modest 10%.

Coming back to the global rise of 2%, that, and the modest changes in numbers in previous weeks too, is surprising.  Where are the Delta variant impacts?  Why have some nations been impacted by the Delta variant (such as the UK and US) but others not nearly so much?

Certainly, there is more “smoothing” of numbers as Delta flows through the world, country by country, but even so, while we have seen our case numbers rise 11-fold in less than two months, and the UK saw their case numbers rise 20-fold in just over two months, the world as a whole has seen case numbers gently not-quite-double in two months.

Another question – talking about the Delta variant, look at the table above.  Why does France have such an utterly and completely different set of virus variants compared to its neighbors – Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain (and other nearby European countries)?

The European borders are again very open, so why is France so incredibly different to its neighbors?  I’m not sure if it is good or bad that the Gamma variant has become predominant in France, but I am very sure it is significant.  The last time I saved this chart was on 23 July – here it is again.

Back then, the Gamma variant was present in reasonably similar numbers in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France.  But in three week, it has largely disappeared in other countries while soaring in France?

The answers to puzzles like this may give us clues to the strengths and weaknesses of the virus and its variants, and for sure, I’d like to know all about its weaknesses in particular.

Top Case Rates Minor (population under 10 million) Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Andorra (191,677) Andorra (192,807)
2 Seychelles (187,663) Seychelles (190,803)
3 Montenegro Montenegro
4 Bahrain Gibraltar (154,751)
5 Gibraltar (152,227) Bahrain
6 San Marino San Marino
7 Maldives Maldives
8 St Barth St Barth
9 Slovenia Slovenia
10 Luxembourg (116,549) Aruba (124,448)

 

Top Case Rates Major (population over 10 million) Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (156,083) Czech Republic (156,200)
2 Argentina (109,937) USA (112,453)
3 Netherlands (109,789) Argentina (111,358)
4 USA (109,693) Netherlands
5 Sweden  (108,622) Sweden
6 Spain Spain
7 Belgium France
8 Portugal Belgium
9 France Portugal
10 Brazil Brazil
11 Colombia Colombia
12 UK (88,891) UK (91,783)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Peru  (5,881) Peru  (5,893)
2 Czech Republic (2,829) Czech Republic (2,830)
3 Brazil Brazil
4 Colombia Colombia
5 Argentina Argentina
6 Belgium Belgium
7 Italy Italy
8 Poland (1,992) Poland (1,992)
9 UK (1,909) UK (1,918)
10 USA (1,900) USA (1,914)

 

Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Botswana  6,608 Georgia  8,457
2 Georgia  6,462 Botswana  5,898
3 Cuba Cuba
4 Eswatini Malaysia
5 Cyprus Eswatini
6 Iran Israel
7 Kazakhstan Iran
8 UK 2,772 UK 2,909
9 Israel  2,646 Kazakhstan
10 Mongolia Mongolia
11 France USA  2631 (est)
12 Spain  2,219 France  2,535

 

The rest of this newsletter is for the very kind Travel Insider Supporters – it is their support that makes all of this possible, and it seems fair they get additional material in return.  If you’re not yet a Supporter, please consider becoming one, and get instant access to the rest of the Diary Entry, additional material on previous diary entries, and much extra content on other parts of the website too.

If you’re a contributor, you should make sure you’re logged in to the website, and when you are, you’ll see the purple text and balance of the newsletter below on the website.  If you’re not logged in, or reading this via email, you need to log in on the website first.

Items below include a startling impact of the pandemic on infants, another virus variant that may or may not be significant, China’s growing control of the scientific media and virus reporting, the surprising demographics of the vaccine-hesitant, the Supreme Court is okay with educational vaccine mandates, a new measure for social distancing, lockdowns, mask wearing, etc, the minimal impact of Covid outbreaks on cruise ships now, Canada’s vaccine loophole, Mexico’s different approach, and the strangest shortage yet.

SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

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END OF SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Thursday.

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.

 

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